Rabac is a seaside town that began to develop in the middle of the 19th century. The town was once a small fishing village with barely a dozen houses. Located on the eastern coast of Istria, the town began to attract its first visitors because of its beautiful bay and an environment worthy of the most beautiful Mediterranean postcards.
In 1876, Richard Francis Burton, an English writer and avid traveler, was among the first tourists to visit Rabac. After his visit to Rabac and other coastal towns in Istria, he wrote the book “The Istrian Coast”, which describes the beauty and charm of Rabac.
At that time, Rabac was in full expansion and the first villas were being built. The most famous villa was owned by a family of merchants of Czech origin called Prohaska. Unfortunately, it was destroyed during the Second World War. One of the most attractive places in Rabac still carries the name Prohaska. It is the Quarnaro, the first hotel in Rabac, opened on June 11, 1889 and owned by the Viskovic family. The Quarnaro Hotel is located near the current Orlando workshop. The hotel had only a few rooms on a single level. Kaiser, the Austrian officer who bought Dubrova, an agricultural company in Labin, was a regular guest of the hotel.
The famous newspaper “Chronicle” recently reported that Prince Ferdinand, the heir to the Austrian-Hungarian throne, visited Rabac in 1907 and was greeted by a big crowd at the town’s port.
The population of Rabac was mainly fishermen, sailors and sailboat owners (ten were destroyed during the Second World War). The first large hotel in the city was built in the center of Rabac in 1925 and was called “Trieste”, which is now called “Primorje”. The hotel had to expand because it could not meet the ever-increasing demand for tourist accommodation. The increase in visitors, mainly from the northern regions of Italy, also led to the construction of additional accommodation. Ten years after the opening of the “Trieste” hotel, the “Dopolavoro” hotel was built, currently housing the “Jadran” restaurant.
Tourism in Istria, as well as in Rabac, began to develop in the sixties, when this small seaside resort was given the flattering name of “Pearl of Kvarner Bay”. From then on, all the other hotels, apartments, campgrounds, and even private houses began to be built.
Most of the visitors are Germans and Austrians, followed by English and Italians. Rabac can accommodate up to 11,000 visitors a day, mostly foreigners. The town also receives several thousand vacationers from Labin and its surroundings.